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tv   The Presidency Calvin Coolidge Descendant  CSPAN  October 12, 2018 9:18pm-9:32pm EDT

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you can see tr looking, you can look at him from a different lens and see whether he lift up to her furthering those things. the stage lighting has changed, the same subject, but it seen in a different light. expect that's what makes it also interesting . >> thank you for telling us about your great grandfather and grandmother. >> thank you, it's a pleasure . >> next, american history tv interviews jennifer harvill, great granddaughter of calvin coolidge. >> jennifer harvill, what is
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your relationship to calvin coolidge? >> my relationship to calvin coolidge i am his great- granddaughter, my mother was one of two girls who were there grandchildren of the coolidge is . >> where do you live? >> i live in new hampshire . >> how far away is that from plymouth question mark >> old a little over an hour. -- it's a little over an hour . >> we are talking at the white house association, how associated are you with descendents, how much work you do in that area? >> i've been going to missouri for a few years to meet with some of the other presidential designers. we gather there for festivals, there's usually a panel of presidential descendents and it's a lot of fun. we talk about how many are
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descended from our presidents and what it's like to be a descendent and how we carry on the legacy. that's about all i've done so far . >> what's it like to be a presidential descendent . >> it's like having a double identity. i'm a stay-at-home mom , i do a lot of volunteer work, my everyday life, i work with schools and, then, the special events that come up allow me to travel and meet some really unique people will, which i'm forever grateful for, other descendents, other people of importance in various walks of life, not so many politicians .
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>> it's been an interested throughout your life or did you grow into it ? >> it's been an interest at my life but as i've gotten older, my mother and aunt passed away prematurely, they were in their late 50s for my aunt who passed away and my mom was 61 when she passed. at the time, i was about 30 years old. . >> what's the message of calvin coolidge? what do you want to know about your great-grandfather? >> i want people to know he was decent and down to earth, he was a very likable gentleman. he was able to work with all sorts of people on both sides of the aisle, he was the boy
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next door, he was very likable. >> he did not seem very intimidating. he did have a very dry wit, i know england's sense of humor. he was shy, and did not enjoy small talk very much but he had his opinion about certain things . >> can you tell me the story about the plymouth site tends to be, your family was very involved . >> yes, it was created in 1960 by my grandfather, john coolidge but there were also some other people involved, one of the
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first ladies and i can't recall which one was involved in creating the foundation. at first it was the calvin coolidge memorial foundation and only within the past couple of years, we've changed the name to the calvin coolidge presidential foundation . >> it is an entire small village when you visit their, what is the story it is trying to tell about the coolidge presidency and calvin coolidge own up bringing? >> the story it portrays is that the site is very simple, it is per se -- portrayed as the place where he grew up. it's almost an exact replica of his boyhood home, it has been kept that way purposefully, because we feel it's very important for people to understand that anyone can come
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from very humble beginnings maybe a farmer or, very simple beginnings. you never know, he never expected to grow up to be president, so this is a very simple place where anyone can get started the best starter, it's very modest, he was not pretentious at all . >> your great-grandfather's biographer says it also demonstrates how hard life was for farmers of that era in that climate, can you talk about that?, it really was. so he did a lot of work with horses and cattle, mostly dairy cattle, he also did a lot of maple tapping and it's told
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that he could get more maple out of the tree than anyone in the area, which is a good story, but he really had to bring in the wood for the fire, every day, he had to make sure the wood box was filled and ready to go, so he had these farm chores he was expected to do . >> it's also the place where he took the oath of office . >> i would love to because it's so unique, so they received word , that the president had passed away out in california, in san francisco. a telegraph was sent to bridgewater vermont, and the person who got the telegraph up to planning with the bus up to
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plymouth there was a knock on the door and the coolidge's were visiting. vice president coolidge's father, john, were visiting and so it was early in the morning on august 3 1923. they got a knock on the door and the father answered the door and said what is going on and he was informed that he had passed away. his father went up and woke up calvin and said the news to him and then they went downstairs and his father administered the oath of office to him. john coolidge was a notary public, so he felt that under the circumstances, this was something that he could just take care of so that our
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country would not be without a president, so that happened and i went back to bed and so it was again, a very modest small ceremony. there were just a few reporters and a stenographer . >> when you mention mrs. coolidge, tell me about your great grandmother, grace . >> she was the opposite in character. she was very vivacious and fun loving and she got the stories from my mother who knew grace was a really fun grandmother. grace coolidge was a teacher of the deaf children in northampton at the clark school for the death -- the deaf.
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she was the first first lady to attend a four-year college, that was the best they had dogs and many animals throughout the years. her most famed animal is rebecca the raccoon, who she had and they had a variety of dogs and cats in the house . >> your grandfather john had a brother who died in the white house, so it's close by telling the story, it's a real tragedy, during the reelection campaign . >> it was. the boys, the brothers were playing, they were 19 years apart, excuse me, 19 months apart and they were playing tennis on the white house grounds, calvin junior
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developed a blister on his foot , and, it was treated but it became infected that the infection started to drift to his body and they had no antibiotics. so, a week after getting the blister that he died at walter reed hospital of sepsis. he was 16 years old . >> >> what do you know about how that impacted the presidential family? >> i believe that it put a lot of pressure on john, i think a lot of pressure was put on him to be a model for his son. i do know that it was a real
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loss for the president and that he blamed himself a lot because, if he had not put him in that position may be his son would be alive. grace was a driving factor in terms of saving the family and helping them to move on, she wrote a poem about calvin junior's death, it's called the open-door and so she really helped them to move on . >> there were a number of presidential families, i always wonder how you can deal with the tragedy when you are living under the extreme tragedy of the white house . >> thank you for sharing your family stories .
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>> thank you for sharing . >> thank you for having me. >> catherine clinton talks about what happened to lincoln's family after his assassination. she discusses mary todd they can struggles with death and difficulty in struggling with the death. she recounts what happens to the presidents to surviving sons and their descendents. this event was part of the annual lincoln form symposium in gettysburg, it's about 50 minutes . >> we have another remarkable speaker next and that's catherine clinton. she's well known in many of you see she's been here on several occasions before. she's currently the chair of american history at the university of texas san antonio. she's also the international research


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